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New City Fire Death Brings Back Memories Of Dark Days For Rockland County

Fire safety efforts are credited for saving lives, along with improvements in the local volunteer fire service.

The death of 75-year-old  in a fire at her 7 Central Avenue home Friday night was the first structure fire death in Rockland County in 2012, and it was the first death in a structure fire in the county since 2009.

For emergency services workers and volunteers who rushed to the intense fire at about 10:30 p.m., the death left them visibly shaken — and disappointed that they were not able to rescue her from the two-story home a block off Little Tor Road.

Rockland County Fire and Emergency Services Director Gordon Wren Jr. said Rockland's record of safety is a testament to the work of first responders in the county, including the members of the 26 all-volunteer fire departments that protect Rockland.

At the scene of Friday's fire, Wren recalled that in the 1970s Rockland County was plagued by deaths in structure fires that hit double digits, such as 18 killed in 1972 and 13 killed in 1978. Although Rockland's population is much larger today, Wren said many factors have gone into saving lives, including ...

- Extensive training and cooperation among the volunteer fire departments.

- Improvements in firefighting equipment.

- Fire safety campaigns run locally and countywide.

- And, a major push that began in 1987 to have homeowners and apartment owners install smoke detectors.

Wren said that many Rockland residents have escaped death because smoke detectors alerted them to a fire and they could evacuate their homes or apartments. Investigators on Friday were trying to determine whether the 7 Central Ave. house in New City had working smoke detectors.

Here is an overview of fatal fires in Rockland County dating back to 1981:

ROCKLAND FATAL FIRES

DATE

 

TIME

 

ADDRESS

 

NAME

 

AGE

Aug. 24, 1981

 

9: 10 a.m.

 

34B Route 303 Valley Cottage

 

Kathryn Stalter

 

72 (electrical)

 

June 29, 1982

 

11:15 a.m.

 

20 Spruce St. Orangeburg

 

Jean Slafta

 

64

 

Dec. 13, 1983

 

4:15 a.m.

 

492 N. Greenbush Rd. Blauvelt

 

Aurion Prictor

 

72 (undetermined)

 

Sept. 11,1984

 

4:50 a.m.

 

329 Westside Ave., Haverstraw

 

Edward Bailey

 

25

 

March 27, 1985

 

2:15 p.m.

 

Thiells-Mt. Ivy Road Thiells

 

Rita T. lessi

 

56

 

July 13, 1986

 

6:23 a.m.

 

Thorpe Village Sparkill

 

Alexander Nizik

 

78 (smoking)

 

Sept. 29, 1986

 

morning

 

78 S. Broadway Nyack

 

Nai W. Chin

 

57 (smoking)

 

Feb. 23, 1987

 

9:36 p.m.

 

4 Hillside Dr. New City

 

Lillian Van Houten

 

58 (smoking)

 

Feb. 9, 1988

 

 

 

75 W. Church St. Spring Valley

 

Sara St. Vil, Sandra St. Vil, Maurine St. Vil

 

8, 13, 72

 

Nov. 10, 1988

 

4:55 a.m.

 

91 S. Airmont Road, Tallman

 

James F. Balvo, William Kobbe

 

31 (kitchen)

 

Jan. 17, 1989

 

 

 

109 College Ave. Nanuet

 

Felix Zallonis

 

77 (electrical)

 

Feb. 19, 1989

 

12:46 a.m.

 

Tallman Towers S. Broadway Nyack

 

Helen Perretta, Janice Russell

 

78, 65

 

April 14, 1990

 

 

 

Normandy Village Nanuet

 

Arthur Hardman

 

77 (smoking)

 

June 16, 1990

 

 

 

146 N. Western Highway Blauvelt

 

Robert Shepard

 

20

 

July 9, 1990

 

7:26 a.m.

 

185OldTappan Rd. Tappan

 

Mary Mochnaki

 

7 (accidental, matches)

 

Feb. 12, 1991

 

9:30 a.m.

 

103 Blauvelt Ave. West Haverstraw

 

Jonathan Meighen

 

18 months

 

Sept. 23, 1993 fire

(Died Sept. 28, 1993)

 

Night after midnight

 

In a tent in Congers

 

Lainda Harty (homeless)

 

45 (gas grill explosion)

 

Feb. 8, 1994 fire died Feb. 22

 

Late morning

 

Suffern

 

Kevin Beauchard

 

9 months (candle)

 

March 1, 1994

 

11:30 a.m.

 

8 Wood St. Spring Valley

 

Ermicle Faroul Chris Mirville

 

62 and 3 years old

 

 

April 19, 1995

 

12:31 p.m.

 

3 Prospect St. Spring Valley

 

Tanya Price

 

24 (arson)

 

Dec. 27,1995

 

12:53 p.m.

 

16ForestGlenRd., VC

 

Allysia Hoehmann

 

15 mos. (electrical)

 

 

Mar. 29, 1996

 

11:45 a.m.

 

Mobil Gas Stat. 9W, Nyack

 

Paula Miller

 

54 (gasoline  accident)

 

 

Sept. 16, 1996

 

2:57 a.m.

 

7 First St., Congers

 

Fionnuala Roche & James Monagahan

 

27, 26 (smoking)

 

 

Oct. 26, 1996

 

4:49 a.m.

 

600 Route 303 Blauvelt

 

Al Defumere Jr. & Matthew Defumere

 

49, 6 (electrical)

 

 

Dec. 5, 1996

 

4:28 a.m.

 

278 Piermont Ave., Piermont

 

Quiley Bullock

 

79 (electrical)

 

 

Dec. 27, 1998, died Dec. 29

 

8:53 a.m.

 

6  Lane St., Monsey

 

Shifra Shain

 

5 (candles)

 

 

Mar. 9, 1999

 

12:40 a.m.

 

34A Closter Rd., Palisades

 

James Wadleigh

 

63 (smoking)

 

 

June 22, 1999

 

11:44 a.m.

 

18 White St., Spring Valley

 

Joseph Augustin

 

81 (electrical)

 

 

Dec. 12, 2001

 

9:56 p.m.

 

3 Manor Drive Monsey

 

Marvin Goldrich

 

62 (gas leak)

 

 

Aug. 15, 2002

 

12:07 p.m.

 

213OrangeTpke, Sloatsburg

 

Mary Rozum Byrnes

 

89 (candles)

 

 

Fire June 9, 2003 (Death June 30, 2003)

 

8:25 p.m.

 

Monsey Park Home for Adults, 15 Monsey Blvd.

 

Joseph Marekja

 

75 (smoking)

 

 

March 6, 2004

 

1 :49 a.m.

 

2 Hoffman St. Spring Valley

 

Unidentified vagrant

 

Smoking and drinking

 

 

March 7, 2004

 

9:25 a.m.

 

169 S.Reld Drive Pearl River

 

Theresa K. Oettlein

 

82 (under investigation)

 

 

April 14, 2004

 

1:38 p.m.

 

32 Broad St.

Havers traw

 

Marie Lastennet

 

89 (under investigation, probably accidental)

 

 

July 31, 2004

9 p.m.

Route 303 & PIP overpass

Orangeburg

James Ables

Paul Houston

23

19 (car accident/fire)

 

Oct. 31, 2004

1:30 a.m.

Blueberry Hill Apts.

Kearsing Parkway

Spring Valley

Edna Thomas

42 (suspicious, but undetermined)

 

 

 

 

 

Feb. 27, 2005

12:30 a.m.

12 Lincoln St.

Spring Valley

vacant house

Juan Mata, 40, and Manuel Esteban-Mendez, 44

second-degree arson and second-degree manslaughter

 

Dec. 14, 2005

Died Dec. 30 at WMC

12:11 p.m.

77 Buchanan St.

Pearl River

Jeanette Younger

87 (small electrical appliance)

 

Jan. 27, 2006

3 a.m.

Route 59 and Western Highway, West Nyack

Alfonse Sedotto

23 (car accident/fire)

 

March 3, 2006, died March 4 at WMC

7:45 p.m.

129 Fred Hecht Drive

Spring Valley

Billy James Walker

55 (using stove for heat/clothing caught fire)

 

April 25, 2006

Died April 30 at WMC

1:50 a.m.

83 Arlene Court

Pearl River

Thomas P. Houlihan

50 (undetermined)

 

Dec. 10, 2006

Died Dec. 11 at WMC

9:55 p.m.

Evergreen Senior Living, Lafayette Ave., Spring Valley

Bassie McSherry

72 (smoking set her night clothes and bedding on fire)

 

Jan. 15, 2007

11:08 a.m.

86 Lois Drive, Pearl River

Daniel Feck

64 (probably smoking)

 

Jan. 29, 2007

Died Feb. 9, 2009

11:15 p.m.

17 Skyline Terr. (Loeb House)

Wesley Hills

Richard Masone

54 (smoking)

 

April 8, 2007

Victim found in woods 3 days after crash

125 Sister Servant Lane, Sloatsburg

Francis McCloskey

79, fire caused by car accident

 

Sept. 29, 2007

3:45 p.m.

122 Parkway Trailer Park, Pomona

Jackson Holland

74 (fell asleep in chair outside, smoking)

 

April 26, 2009

6:40 p.m.

9 Fletcher Road, Spring Valley

Henry K. Lewandowski,

67 (smoking)

 

April 20, 2012

10:30 p.m.

7 Central Ave., New City

Eleanor Luciano

75 (under investigation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Compiled by Deputy Fire Coordinator John Kryger, Rockland County Office of Fire & Emergency Services

   
Dorothy Zucker April 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Does anyone remember the young fireman Kevin Landau that died fighting a fire?
stephany April 22, 2012 at 02:05 PM
maybe I am wrong but I think he died when he fell off a fire truck and not fighting a fire. he also worked for the town of C so landau park was born.
William Demarest (Editor) April 22, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Kevin Landau died in an accident on his way to a fire call. He is remembered every year by the members of the New City Fire Department, and indeed the park adjacent to the New City firehouse is named in his honor.
Chris April 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Was Mrs. Luciano smoking when the fire happened?
stephany April 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM
can you post a link to that. I see this but it is so unspecific as hell as to what happened. In the article it says he died while responding WITH the NCFD. Is there any article that states specifically what happened. And what are you relying on for your info. it should have been in the journal news but I can't find it. http://newcity.patch.com/articles/north-student-wins-scholarship-named-for-new-city-volunteer-firefighter
Craig S. April 23, 2012 at 02:53 AM
the article is unclear, perhaps someone from New City FD could clarify the details, having grown up in New City, I thought i remembered something about FF Landau falling off the rear step of a firetruck as it was responding
Kenny Flynn April 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Kevin was killed when he fell under the wheels of a fire truck as it pulled out of the firehouse to respond to an alarm. In addition to the park, Kevin is remembered annually by the fire department through the presentation of a memorial scholarship to a worthy student at Clarkstown North High School. Every year after the New City Memorial Day Parade, the department, along with Membera of Kevin's family, make the scholarship presentation to the student in Landau Park.
stephany April 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM
"perhaps someone from New City FD could clarify the details" Maybe as confirmation but I would actually prefer a link to an article in a paper written at or as close to the time it happened.It might be a good stating point if we knew where William Demarest got his info about the car accident. He must have verified it. Btw What was the accident. What happened?
Fil April 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Kevin's death is unrelated to this article. This was about victims who perished since 1981. Kevins death was an accident, so please let it be. Chief Flynn gave you the info of his death, this should more than enough. If you indeed need to scratch more into this, remember the days where you go into a place called a library and pull up newspaper archives? All you will find though is what the Chief had just said.
Fil April 23, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Also Stephany, if you read what Mr. Demarest wrote he said accident, not car accident. Kenny had verified that by saying he fell under the wheels of the ftruck, that was responding to a fire. Making it........ An accident......
William Demarest (Editor) April 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Clarkstown police said today they are still investigating the cause of Friday's fatal fire on Central Avenue in New City.

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